The Annals of Applied Statistics

Classification in postural style

Antoine Chambaz and Christophe Denis

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This article contributes to the search for a notion of postural style, focusing on the issue of classifying subjects in terms of how they maintain posture. Longer term, the hope is to make it possible to determine on a case by case basis which sensorial information is prevalent in postural control, and to improve/adapt protocols for functional rehabilitation among those who show deficits in maintaining posture, typically seniors. Here, we specifically tackle the statistical problem of classifying subjects sampled from a two-class population. Each subject (enrolled in a cohort of 54 participants) undergoes four experimental protocols which are designed to evaluate potential deficits in maintaining posture. These protocols result in four complex trajectories, from which we can extract four small-dimensional summary measures. Because undergoing several protocols can be unpleasant, and sometimes painful, we try to limit the number of protocols needed for the classification. Therefore, we first rank the protocols by decreasing order of relevance, then we derive four plug-in classifiers which involve the best (i.e., more informative), the two best, the three best and all four protocols. This two-step procedure relies on the cutting-edge methodologies of targeted maximum likelihood learning (a methodology for robust and efficient inference) and super-learning (a machine learning procedure for aggregating various estimation procedures into a single better estimation procedure). A simulation study is carried out. The performances of the procedure applied to the real data set (and evaluated by the leave-one-out rule) go as high as an 87% rate of correct classification (47 out of 54 subjects correctly classified), using only the best protocol.

Article information

Ann. Appl. Stat., Volume 6, Number 3 (2012), 977-993.

First available in Project Euclid: 31 August 2012

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Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Aggregation classification cross-validation postural style targeted minimum loss learning (TMLE) top-scoring pairs classifier super-learning


Chambaz, Antoine; Denis, Christophe. Classification in postural style. Ann. Appl. Stat. 6 (2012), no. 3, 977--993. doi:10.1214/12-AOAS542.

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Supplemental materials

  • Supplementary material: Supplement to “Classification in postural style”. We gather in this Supplementary file a short and self-contained description of the construction of a super-learner, as well as the estimation procedures that we choose to involve for the sake of classifying subjects in postural style. One of those estimation procedures, a variant of the top-scoring pairs classification procedure, is specifically presented.